Design, News & Lifestyle Blog
Talking to Fanny Boucher
10th December 2011
On a recent research trip to Jaipur, we had the pleasure of catching up with jewellery designer Fanny Boucher on her eclectic line called ‘Honorine’. Fanny spent three years learning the trade and hasn’t looked back.
Tell us about your background
I was born and brought up in a small town in Lorraine in North East France, a region of dark skies and nothing much to do. So I read and drew a lot. Many designers have that in common: growing up in a quiet and remote place. In retrospect, I think it's great for kids to be bored. When you are bored, you think, you wonder and you dream. It's wonderful. It helps you build a creative mind. I moved to Paris to study and then seven years ago I moved even further from the rainy hills of Lorraine to India.
What made you choose jewellery designing as a career?
When I travelled to India for the first time, I had been studying humanities and doing a tough philosophy course for three years. I was burnt out. I needed to put my brains on pause to use my eyes, my hands. I arrived in Jaipur and discovered this incredible world of fine gems and jewellery; the white washed rooms where priceless gems are traded; everyone sitting on mattresses on the floor; the old city workshops where gold jewellery is handmade. It was love at first sight. What was supposed to be a 3-month stint became seven years and a career.
What are your main influences and inspirations behind your designs?
My latest collection is called "Wunderkammer", the German name for Cabinets of Curiosities. I find them fascinating. I looked at old books and anatomical drawings, especially for my insect rings.
The collection before Wunderkammer was inspired by Orientalism. I looked at John Frederick Lewis paintings and I read about Jane Digby, this extraordinary English lady who married a Bedouin chief 25 years her junior. She was a friend of the explorer Richard Burton and her house is Damascus was supposed to be a pure delight.
Your pieces are extremely beautiful and creative. Do you have a favourite? If so, which one and why.
I love my "Lamu" charm. It's one of my first designs – a solid gold Hand of Fatima on an Indian prayer thread. I spent hours and hours drawing the perfect hand, with the right proportions and engravings. I always carry one with me. It protects you against the evil eye.
And I love my "Lili" stacking rings with polki diamonds. Sometimes I wear seven, sometimes one. I love the shine of polki diamonds (flat uncut diamonds used in traditional Indian jewellery).
At the moment, I am mad about my insect rings. The "Spider" one is fabulous. I always wear it to go out.
Describe the woman who wears your jewellery.
She can talk knowledgeably and passionately about Middle East politics and Alaïa. She likes beautiful things but hates anything show off. She'd rather buy objects than clothes. She wants jewellery that will last and become more beautiful with time, something she can pass on to her daughter. She can wear diamonds with jeans, and Converse with a Chanel jacket. She is a free spirit.
What exciting projects/designs are you working on at the moment?
My most exciting project at the moment is my e-boutique. I want people to feel like they are browsing through a very elegant catalogue, but online. I am also designing a more commercial line for a new venture. It's a great experience.